Thursday 25 July 2013

Egypt: My gloomy crystal ball reading

Egypt’s brilliant columnist and high-profile talk show host Imad Adeeb wrote this think piece in Arabic for the country's al-Watan news-paper:
Will we be “spiraling down” or “reaching a compromise” in Egypt?
What’s in the cards – more frenzy, demonstrations, violence and bloodshed, or the boon of commonsense, wisdom, moderation and serious negotiations?
It seems – and God knows best – that tension, escalation and bloodshed will prevail in the near and medium terms.
I sense further internecine bloodletting on public squares and streets and in Egyptian cities and provinces.
I see hundreds if not thousands killed and injured in the few coming weeks.
I see attacks on police stations, government buildings, party headquarters, public facilities, security directorates and military barracks.
I see the emergence of unconventional weapons in the upcoming battles, including the “Grenov” (RPG-18), rocket launchers and anti-aircraft missiles.
I see the beginnings of sectarian strife in the provinces and the appearance of weapons stockpiled for months in mosque and church basements.
I see all sides’ political elites keeping up their hysterics and inflammatory speeches calling for violence, killings and the total exclusion -- if not its erasure from history and geography -- of the opposite side.
Regrettably, I see no prospect of an imminent compromise.
I don’t see words of wisdom reaching open minds. Nor do I see an atmosphere conducive to dialogue between the parties to the crisis.
The tragic irony is the crisis we were controlling lately has now transformed into a crisis controlling us.
The problem that was running deep is now running out of anyone’s control.
The big tragedy is that nothing can lead to a solution or a compromise. Muslim Brotherhood rule won’t lead to stability. And shutting out the Brothers won’t restore calm.
Since January 2011, we tried a president with a military background, military council rule and a president from the Muslim Brotherhood. We are now trying an honorable man’s rule as interim president.
Despite these variations and experiences, we still haven’t found the desired solution.
We went through a revolution in January 2011 and another in June 2013 and saw the army intercede and millions take to the streets on both occasions.
No event, regime, revolution or coup d’état pacified people or restored their aplomb and satisfaction.
How can Egyptian society recoup its serenity, calm and stability?
It’s a great question worth pondering and answering.